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Posts Tagged ‘support’

Was I taught somewhere along the way that it is a weakness to need help from others? I don’t think anyone ever said so out loud, but it’s what I thought was true for a long time. But it isn’t true.

In fact, asking for help- and being willing to receive help- is one of the most powerful things I can do. I am strong enough to receive.

Women, especially when birthing, understand and know that although all the power that is ever needed is inside us, support from the outside helps us connect to the truth and power inside. We sometimes need to be reminded of our strength. We sometimes need to be surrounded by people who believe in us.

This week I asked for help from my friends- doulas, midwives, birth activists and moms. And I was awed and honored by their response. As I flexed my asking and receiving muscles, I could tell it had been too long since I really stretched them.

So I’m going to ask for your help too.

Next Monday at 1pm ET, I’m trying something new with my radio show, A Labor of Love. I usually connect with topics I feel are important to moms and moms-to-be by talking with guest experts. And although I enjoy the show, I trust that it is time to birth something new: I really want to connect directly with other moms and moms-to-be who are listening. I want to connect with you.

This is how you can help: Don’t just listen to the show- CALL ME! Let me know what you’re thinking. Share your experience- what worked and what didn’t.

The topic for Monday’s show is Taking Responsibility for Pregnancy and Birth. Read the full description HERE.

To connect to the live show, click this link: A Labor of Love at 1pm ET. Then call in during the show at 866-472-5972.

If you can’t make it to the live show, but have some thoughts you’d like to add to the conversation, send me an email. Include your comments, your first name and where you live, and I’ll share your ideas during the show. Email IntentionalBirth (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thanks for connecting with me and for reminding me that I’m strong enough to ask. Will you help?

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I don’t like to talk about it. It still scares me when I reflect closely on how I felt during those days, those weeks. It’s scary mostly because I thought I was ok. It’s a big reason I didn’t want to talk about having another baby until recently. I was so afraid to go through it again.

When Jordan was born 2 years earlier, I had lots to recover from. I knew I wasn’t ok. I was distraught by the whole experience of giving birth; the doctor telling me she was going to die f I didn’t do what he said; the relentless hospital staff who were more concerned with policy and procedure than my informed consent. When I felt kind of crappy, it seemed like a natural effect of obvious causes. New mom, insecure, lack of sleep, plus disempowered birth equals feeling crappy. And as time passed, so did feeling crappy.

But this? I couldn’t explain this at all.

My healthy, happy second pregnancy, with an amazing, peaceful planned homebirth. I was caught completely off-guard.

I cried every day. I felt like a failure; not just a plain-old failure- a miserable failure.

I cried myself to sleep, believing that I didn’t deserve to be a mom. How could I be a mother when I was so worthless? I couldn’t possibly love them like they deserved.

It went on like this in my head for a while. When my husband would try to console me, it made me feel even worse. Now I was making him feel bad. I was bringing him down. Now I thought I was a “bad” wife too. So I tried to hold it in, but it escaped anyway.

I didn’t tell my friends. I didn’t want them to know how unhappy I was. I was ashamed of how unhappy I was. I wanted to be a mom, a good mom. And being sad meant (in my mind) I was not a good mom. Especially since I thought that in some way, my sadness was about being a mom.

I denied there was any problem. I told myself I was simply adjusting to having a second child – everyone said it would be hard. And it was really, really hard. It was so hard that I started wishing I didn’t have a second child.

I started to believe the girls were better off without me. It took all my strength not to run away from home every day. But as I considered more seriously the possibility of leaving them, other strange thoughts began to enter. I couldn’t leave my girls to be motherless. I couldn’t leave them to grow up alone, without me.

So how could I run away from home and prevent them from being without me? This is where it started to get really scary.

I started to understand that I wasn’t really thinking about running away from home. I meant to kill myself. And now I was thinking about taking the girls with me. I started thinking about ways we could all 3 die at once. I never really understood I was considering killing my children until later.

All this took place in less than 6 weeks.

At my six-week check up with my midwife, she asked me, “How are you?” Maybe it was that other people had asked, How’s it going? or How are you sleeping? or How is Jordan adjusting? Or maybe I just didn’t hear anyone ask about me before then.

So I told her.

I told her everything- all of it. Even the parts I was ashamed of. Even the parts I pretended not to be thinking. Even the things that I thought made me a “bad” mother.

She listened. She hugged me.

I still didn’t think it was that bad. I felt better just having told her. I still thought it was just the adjustment from one child to two.

She called my doctor while I sat there. She made an appointment for me for the next day. She drove to my house to take me and watched my toddler while I visited with the doctor.

I felt kind of silly that so much attention was being paid to this. I still didn’t realize how messed up my thinking was, how serious things had gotten.

After my doctor listened to everything I had to say, she suggested a few options for treatment: anti-depressants, hormone therapy, counseling. I followed her advice. I took the pills, even though I don’t like taking medication. I got the blood workup done and took the hormones too. I talked to someone.

I also went to my acupuncturist regularly to get things back on track physically/energetically.

When I started feeling better, I suddenly realized how awful it had been. I felt like my self again and saw how far away I had traveled from the me I am used to.

And I realized that truly, at one time, I had meant to kill my children and myself. This is something that is still raw around the edges inside me. I now understand something I never wanted to know- how a woman (a mother!) could be so desperate she would do something so unbelievable.

My postpartum depression was diagnosed before the unthinkable happened. I am forever grateful to my midwife, doctor, husband, doula and friends for supporting me through this.

If you have experienced PPD, please leave a comment here on the blog.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Postpartum Depression (sadness, hopelessness, guilt, overwhelm, social withdrawal, becoming easily frustrated, increased anxiety) or if you think- even a little- about hurting yourself or your baby, contact your doctor, midwife or find resources online.

Don’t wait. (Maybe they’ll tell you it’s not that bad. Or maybe they’ll help you to start feeling better.)

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Somehow I always thought I’d be a mother of sons. I was a bit of a tomboy for much of my life and also relate to the directness of men. When I was younger, I usually had male friends and I didn’t always get along with women.

And here I am, raising daughters.

I’m learning over the years more about women- and about being a woman among women. I learned that I held myself apart because I considered most women adversaries. I learned that much of life/society is constructed in a way to inspire me to challenge other women, rather than support them. I also figured out that men were easier to manipulate and women called me on my $h*% which I didn’t like very much back then. But I’m starting to see how supportive that really is.

And now, I’m learning to see the world in a new way, as I consider my old ideas to decide if they are worthy of my daughters.

My girls like to dress up like princesses. How does a mother battle against the tired cliche of “damsel rescued by prince”? Very carefully, I’m learning. Because they “know” the story already. I can only add that I’m sure Cinderella might have done just fine if she had seen how talented she was and applied for a job somewhere. I can introduce new stories where brave girls take brave action.

And maybe more important that the entertainment they view (which is purposely limited), is listening to how they see their world. I encourage them to talk freely about what they are experiencing, even if they are mad at me or their dad. I want them to be comfortable voicing the truth, their truth, and comfortable accepting their strength as individuals within our family group.

I want them to learn to trust what is inside (passions, intuition, intelligence, self-esteem) as more significant and important than what is presented from the outside. And so I need to take this lesson to heart. I spend my quiet time remembering the truth of who I am, who I want to be, and bringing all aspects of myself together in the best way I can. I am teaching my girls to love and accept themselves by honoring who I am in each moment.

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Today’s show on Expectations Radio was all about the booby traps- the barriers to breastfeeding that many women face, and what we can do individually and together to make a difference.

Please share your experience with the “booby traps” and anything you can offer to help other women faced with similar obstacles. You have a unique perspective based on your experience- and a big way to encourage and support other moms is to tell the truth and share what might have helped if you only knew then what you know now.

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How you are supported by others is a reflection of how you are supporting yourself.

If this makes you want to argue, let’s look at what’s going on with you right now. Are you consistently appreciated? Do you feel valued by those around you? Do family and friends validate your choices and your intuition?

If the answer is No, or Not quite, or even Sometimes, it may be because you are doubting your own worth. (Having doubt is only human, after all.) Those around us, unless they are engaged in active conscious living, simply mirror back to us everything we feel inside about ourselves. It’s not intentional. In fact it’s as un-intentional as how you may be feeling inside.

Ever notice how, on the days you’re feeling a bit insecure, the actions of others encourage those feelings?

One day, feeling unattractive because the baby weight was there, but not the cute “bump” seen in all the cute ads, just the muffin-top from too tight pants. It was all in my tummy, thighs and butt and I felt like a big chubby sausage. Then someone says, “It’s good to know you’re pregnant, otherwise I’d be worried about all that weight you’re gaining.”

But wasn’t that pretty close to the same thoughts I was holding? Maybe I even said the same thing to myself moments before the verbal comment. It’s not a coincidence. It’s the way the universe works. We put it out and it comes back to us.

So how do we change what we’re receiving? We change what we’re sending out. It doesn’t matter how well you treat others, if you don’t treat yourself just as considerately.

Would you talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself? Most of us wouldn’t. So begin by changing how you talk to yourself.

It doesn’t mean you’ll never have another internal mean thought- that you’ll never think you look fat, or feel insecure. But if you are willing to believe everyone feels like that sometimes, you may be able to be more forgiving.

Here’s what I do: Most days, I wear a special necklace with a relatively large pendant. (If you don’t wear jewelry, that’s ok too- you can still do this.) When I hear myself say anything un-supportive, I hold my hand to my heart, touch my pendant, take a breath. Then I forgive myself for being unkind. And I say something like, It’s ok to be afraid, (feel insecure, etc). I’m trying new things and am not always going to be sure of myself. I can trust that the way is always there if I follow my heart. I am an amazing woman.

I try to be as positive as possible, and always tell myself the truth about my worth. If the truth about you is hard to find right now, it’s time to call a friend who will tell you the truth of your worth, so you can remember how awesome you are. You are valuable. You have a purpose to serve in the world and if you don’t yet know what that is, that doesn’t make you less important.

Only you can choose to be supported- by first choosing to honor and support yourself.

We choose the people with whom we surround ourselves. We share our lives with these people and our children learn from our example. This is where they learn to be supported and find their own value and worth.

I was reminded especially of this truth last week when a member of my sister’s extended family was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, the father of her 3 year old son. Please know- I am absolutely NOT placing responsibility on anyone but the man who made the choice to take a life. But I guarantee this woman’s mother is currently reviewing her past relationships and wondering about the example she set for her daughter. It DOES matter that both this woman and her mother found the resolve to step out of the pattern of abuse and violence. It DOES matter that they each found their value and worth and acted on this truth, choosing to leave.

It is not too late to choose to see your own worth. There is only now.

This is as direct a message as you may see this week, so I want it to be clear and obvious. I want you to see it so clearly that you jump out of your chair and take whatever action is necessary to acknowledge and validate yourself and your needs.

I want you to support yourself and to be supported and loved by those you choose to bring into your life. That begins on the inside of each of us. And everything we show our children is a lesson. They see everything we do and it becomes what they know. Teach them to know how you value yourself and they will also learn their own worth.

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